What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give to a new mom (or mom-to-be)?
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Remember before your belly got really big and the troubled sleep started? Think back to that last time you slept through the night soundly. Is it in your mind? Great! Cherish that thought because tip #1 is to give up on restful sleep for the next 18 years. While you have that picture in your mind, also remember and grab a tight hold of the feeling that you know anything. Tip #2 is everything you thought you knew about parenting is wrong -it is personalized for each child. And tip #3 for the newbie mamas is to buy stock in cleaning supplies. Kids are cute as buttons, buttons that have been drug through the mud and sneezed on. Good luck.
Number 1: It's okay to let your baby cry! Don't feel like you have to do something every time they cry. Baby's cry. It's not necessarily because they need something every time. For that matter, it's okay to let them cry themselves to sleep, too. Go in and check on them every 15 minutes if they just won't calm down, pat them on the back, assure them you're there, and then leave the room again giving them another 15 minutes to fall asleep. I know it's hard to hear them cry, but it's what babies do!
Number 2: If you have access to helping hands, GET THEM THERE. Every new mom needs help, and lots of it! Don't let the condition of your house, your kitchen, your laundry, yourSELF keep you from getting the help you need with your baby. Take people up on their offers to help! Every new mom's house is neglected, so push down any pride and invite helpers over despite what your surroundings or your self might look like!
Number 3: Be prepared for LOTS of unsolicited advice! Don't get annoyed by it, just expect it. Women love to share what worked for them and share their stories of motherhood even when you don't ask! Just take it with a grain of salt, throw out what advice you don't like and cling to the advice you do!
For some great baby tips, check out my blog: I'm a Lazy Mom!
Well first off all I would say that it is super important that you take some "me"-time for yourself every day. As as new mom you have a million things to do, and it is hard to see yourself taking even a minute or two from your non-stop schedule of diaper changes, feedings, soothing and much more. However, it is SO important that you arrange an hour or even 15-20 minutes a day where you do something that makes YOU relax. As a fitness profesional I will of course recommend exercise as a great option, but it could be anything from reading a book, to using an acupressure mat (I used the one from TheraMat - www.TheraMat.com). What is important is that it makes YOU relax and gives you a break from your hectic schedule. And trust me, your baby will be just fine without you for an hour, and you will be a much better mom giving yourself this short break every day!
Also try to arrange to have some healthy snacks available at home at all times. It is hart to take yourself time to prepare a good healthy meal for yourself (at least it was for me :) !) and a lot of times you end-up snacking throughout the day, so being prepared with some great healthy option will make it easier to stay healthy. Examples of snacks could be peeled mini-carrots, grapes, or low fat yogurt (without sugar, instead use fresh berres or fruit with it).
Third I will say, stop stressing about being that perfect mom you read about or that you think your friends are. It is impossible to stay up to date on everything, and do everything that they say is the right way to do things.You know YOUR baby, and as long as you try your best to care for you child, you WILL BE the perfect mom for your child!
1. Remember to look after yourself. You can’t be the best mom possible if you neglect your own needs.
2. Trust your instincts. You’ll get lots of advice from many people but your instincts will be your best guide.
3. Babies need your love, care and attention more than anything. They will do fine without the latest and greatest gadgets and furnishings. The baby business is a billion dollar industry that tries to convince you need all these things they’re promoting.
So, you've gone and had a baby. As you're wandering around in a daze and wondering if that stain on your shirt is from the baby or your last attempt to feed the cat, you're probably hoping for some good advice. Look no further:
1. Find a doctor who is free with the prescription pad. Seriously. This is of particular import if your baby is colicky or fussy or sleepy or has taken up smoking, and you need a way to get through the day. Actually, a good rapport with your doctor is key. If you don't feel comfortable with your OB/GYN, your general practitioner or your pediatrician do NOT hesitate to find a new one. This is a stressful time and you need someone you can count on for support. I can't tell you how thrilled I was the time my daughter had croup, which resultedin a frantic [on my part] late night call to the answering service, and the on-call doctor called me back a few hours later to check and see if we were o.k. It was also much easier to speak to my own doctor about the fact that I couldn't stop crying for about three months after my daughter was born when I knew she was a good listener.
2. Nobody is going to die if you don't get your baby book done. Trust me. Sure, it's a nice thing to have, but aim low. Get a baby calendar, so all you have to do is periodically write something in a tiny block and you don't have to worry about filling out a whole page about your baby's first poop [it stinks, no matter what anyone says] [please don't include photos]. Also? You can spend that money on beer or wine or makeup or jewelry, which will give you a much better return on your investment.
3. You know best. Your mom or mother-in-law or sister or that random lady in the park may have raised 18 kids in a log cabin with no electricity or running water and they all turned out just fine, sure, but YOU are the boss of your kid. YOU. No one knows better than you how to take care of your child and what it means when your baby is tugging on her ears or that he really, really, REALLY hates it when someone tries to feed him peas. If your baby loves her binky, let her suck on her damn binky. Wouldn't you get pissed off if someone took away the thing that makes you happiest? Stand firm, stay strong. It'll be uncomfortable at first, but you can do this. Which should probably be the new parent motto.
There you go. My words of wisdom.
1. Accept your child for whoever and whatever they are. Wanted a boy but got a girl? Wanted a cuddly one and yours is standoffish? Wanted a boy who played sports but you got one who prefers princess dress-up? Wanted a healthy one but got a chronically ill one? We don't always get to choose what we get--be we do get to choose how we *handle* what--and who--we get. Our love and acceptance of our kids, especially those who are different from their peers, means the world to them.
2. Find support. Reach out to your old friends, and find new ones. Join support groups for moms like you. Talk. Read. Write. Know that you're not alone. Motherhood is hard--especially when it's different, and harder, than you expected it to be.
3. Laugh. If you find yourself saying to your son, "Sweetie, you have to lift your tutu when you pee," and NOT laughing, something is wrong. And that doesn't mean YOU'RE wrong, it just means that you need some help. Call a doctor, call your mother, call a friend. Do what you need to do to get the laughter back.
1. Listen to you instincts. You know your child better than anyone else!
2. It's okay if you don't bond with your baby right away. It will happen soon. I promise!
3. Don't be shy to ask for help in the beginning. Being a new mom can be difficult and exhausting!
1. Don't be too hard on yourself trying to be the "perfect" mom. We all make mistakes and having a new baby is stressful enough without beating yourself up over the little stuff.
2. If your intuition tells you that something about a babysitter, nanny or daycare isn't right, follow your instincts and make a change. Don't worry about what other people think, do what YOU think is best for your child.
3. Try to connect with other mom or moms-to-be to ensure you have friends with kids around the same age. It's a great social outlet for you and the baby. Moms groups, online message boards, mommy & me classes and the local park are great places to connect with other moms. I wish I had done it sooner!
Top three pieces of advice I would give
1.) Get Sleep
2.) Ask for Help
3.) Don't worry about spoiling your baby
The biggest thing I learned was to rest when baby is sleeping, and to get plenty of rest before baby is born.
Housework and chores can wait! Mama needs rest just like baby needs their rest!
Everyone is going to have advice on parenting, while they mean well, your the mom and you get the final say, go with your instincts. And most important enjoy being a mom, you truly have a little miracle.
Sleep as much as possible and teach your baby to sleep.
Call the Dr with every little question...that's what they are there for.
Ask for help! No one can do it alone!
1) Sleep when you can, more than you think you need to.
2) Get help.
3) Be awed.
Ask for help and be specific ... I was bombarded by people who wanted to "help" but all anyone wanted to do was feed the baby, bath her, change her, rock her, dress her...all the things I wanted to do with my new little baby....I felt I was pushed to the wayside, left to do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc...and then be a perfect hostess to all these "helpers"....I spent all my time doing these chores, not resting, and then I got broken sleep all night because she would wake for feedings and I was the only one there then. I ended up really tired and on the verge of depression over it...that's something that could have given me baby blues for sure....
Maybe make a list and put it by the door, let people know what you need help with today, and see what they volunteer for...that way you get time with the baby, and maybe you can get some "Me" time in when someone is bathing or rocking your baby.... good luck!!
1) Don't underestimate your child. They are observing and taking in all that surrounds them from conception. Once their motor & vocal skills catch up, they will show you all that you have taught them. Keep doing the sign language - one day they will sign back.
2) Nutrition is key for you and your child.
3) Read, read, read. For yourself and for your child. (Read parenting books & blogs, and read daily to your baby.
It’s funny, but when I got the request to offer my top 3 pieces of advice to new moms, I thought it would be easy. Once I started to write, I found otherwise because 3 is a very small number. That said, there are number of ideas which I think can offer a framework for peace, love and happiness. Here goes….
1.) Consider your child’s point of view
The first piece of advice would be to try to see things from a child’s point of view. This may sound easy, but when your child is testing gravity with a bowl of spaghetti or simply decorating your wall with a Sharpie, it is not.
I think it is also important to assume the best. While you may feel (and be told, and have heard, and think) that kids are ‘testing you’, I do not think that is true. You are not their project. They are their project, and assuming the best intentions can go a long way toward heading off antagonism between you and them.
In addition, consider you requests. Is your request realistic with regard to their age, your motivation, or the situation at hand? For instance, is it realistic to expect a child of two to sit still and be quiet for an hour? What is their point of view?
2.) Language is your tool of communication with your child
Talk less and ask more. We parents have a habit of doing monologues which are great for epic poems, but terrible for communicating with children. Kids are not stupid. When you need to correct, which is far less than your tongue may think, keep it short and to the point.
I think it is also important to use language precisely. For instance, don’t say ‘you need to stop writing on the wall’. That is not true. They already wrote on the wall because they needed to. Say ‘I don’t want you to write on the wall because….’ Starting sentences with ‘I’ versus ‘you’ is a simple method to start explanations on the right foot.
Say yes or find a ‘yes’ as often as possible. Believe me, from child’s point of view, life can appear to be one giant NO. Don’t’ touch, don’t eat that, don’t do that, stop it…. When they want ice cream right before dinner, instead of saying ‘no’, say ‘we are not eating ice cream now, but yes, we can have some after dinner’. Find a ‘yes’.
3.) Put the relationship first and love unconditionally
In the long term, being right moment to moment is far less important than your connection to your child. You do not need to prove to them you are always right, nor showboat about that fact if you are proven so. In addition, admit when you are wrong. We all have plenty of opportunities.
It is important in this respect to be authentic and not project. When you are having a bad day, remember that when their cry seems louder than normal or when it seems they are ‘testing you’ today. They are not.
At some point, other people and maybe family members will judge you deficient as a parent. It is important for your child to know they do not embarrass you, and that you support them. If you want them to tell grandma about their art project, but they will not speak, the appropriate response is ‘he doesn’t want to talk right now...maybe later’ not ‘come on, what is wrong with you?’
And lastly, there is little doubt you will love your child unconditionally, but they need experience the love that way. Love and affection should not have to be earned, and love withdrawal should not be used as a weapon of behavior modification. Praise may sound positive, but children know it cuts both ways so offer it with care and connection. Time outs are widely used, but they are huge connection breakers, and I would say, highly ineffective and probably destructive.
My daughters are now 9 and 6. It has been 5 years since I used any punishment (timeouts or otherwise), or blackmail (if you are good, we can). We have no refrigerator list of do and donts, and focus on thinking versus rules. It is possible, and immensely more peaceful.
In summary, don’t be too hard on yourself. We are all trying our best.
1. In your mind, start redefining yourself as a mom, in addition to whatever else you are (teacher, doctor, housekeeper, engineer, etc). Even if you continue to work in your career, it will ease your transition to motherhood if you acknowledge that being a mom is a job too. If you plan to be a full time mom, own that job with pride and respect, because it is absolutely a full-time job. And be open to redefining your career as you journey through motherhood, because different jobs may suit you at different points in your life, even jobs you never imagined doing! During the time I have been a mom, I have been a banker, then an artist, and now a writer.
2. In this era of digital photos, it is easy to keep 10,000 photos on your computer and never actually make physical albums. At least once every few months, upload your favorite photos of your baby to a photo printing service and order the prints. Make some old-fashioned albums, because your kids will LOVE looking through them, just like we all loved looking through albums when we were kids.
3. Don't compare your baby too much to other babies. There will always be a baby that rolls over sooner, gains weight faster, cuts teeth earlier and says words younger. Your baby will be on his or her own path. Every baby has strengths and every baby has weaknesses. As a mother, you get to celebrate your baby's unique abilities and advocate for your baby's areas that need improvement. It's easier to do that if you don't keep a running scorecard with other babies. Your baby is awesome!
1. Take a lot of photos - with your newborn, no matter what you look like! I was so embarassed by my weight, after my 1st child, I didnt want to be in any photos. Now, I regret it.
2. Take the help that is offered to you. People that offer help, mean it. Utilizing your family and friends, so that you do not become overwhelmed.
3. Don't sweat the small stuff. Time goes by so fast...enjoy every moment!
1. Give yourself extra time - for everything - travel, getting baby ready, getting yourself ready.
2. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Honest. I didn't take this advice and I wish I had!
3. Say NO if you are too tired to do things, entertain guests, etc. Mother the mother, as they say!
To give breastfeeding a true try. It may not come as naturally as you might think! The first two weeks are the hardest, as you and your new nummie lover are just getting the hang of things.
Contact your local breastfeeding support group and look for online groups as well. In most cases, you are NOT alone in your struggles and you will be able to find tips and ideas to help.
Do not feel like a failure if you give a bottle. Any amount of breastmilk is WONDERFUL! If you find yourself needing to suppliment a bottle or two, a day, with formula....it IS OKAY! Just pump those formula feedings to keep your supply up and store the expressed breastmilk for another day.